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Radiation Exposure Testing

Japan With Kids - Forums: Health Topics: Radiation Exposure Testing
By Shikokumom on Tuesday, September 6, 2011 - 10:26 am:

I'm hoping that someone will see this. JWK forums has been out for years . . .

I live in Saitama and there's been reports of radioactive cesium found in a child's urine.

Where can we get tested?


By Damathsu on Tuesday, September 6, 2011 - 6:21 pm:

My friends live in Chiba with their children, he has spent the last few months driving up and down to Fukushima delivering food etc.....anyway they came to the UK a few weeks ago and were all tested here in London and they were all clear...I will ask him more details.....


By Drdo1 on Tuesday, September 6, 2011 - 6:34 pm:

My husband has been up to Fukushima to help out and he has been tested. Negative.

They are testing everything that is being deported...even tires and heavy equipment so the fear and possible reality is there.

But where? Good question. Can you talk to anyone from your City Hall?


By Hwseyl on Tuesday, September 6, 2011 - 6:40 pm:

Yokohama has an English phone in line for health questions related to the radiation. It's on their homepage. I would think other city/ward offices would offer this same service.


By Drdo1 on Tuesday, September 6, 2011 - 6:41 pm:

Sorry...I should have added: my husband got tested by work-related employers with a hand-held device.

I am guessing...that hospitals in the area may help.


By Uco on Tuesday, September 6, 2011 - 7:28 pm:

Shikokumom,

The Saitama-ken official website tells us that, since the level of radiation in the prefecture is not as high as to affect our health, there is no need to have yourself tested, although anyone can get advise by calling his/her local public health center (hokenjo). The phone numbers are listed below.
http://www.pref.saitama.lg.jp/page/gen-kenko-soudan.html

As for the urine issue, I believe you are talking about the 10 year old in Kawaguchi who is said to have had a small amount of cesium 137 detected. From a quick internet search, it seems that this child had her urine as of mid July tested by a private organization called Riken-bunseki Center in Yamagata Pref.
http://savechild.net/archives/6173.html

I found the organization's website by a Google search.
http://riken-ac.com/

By the way, I think it is important to know that just because cesium was detected, that doesn't mean that this child is doomed. I hope that tests can be utilized to make it easier for people to live with the results, as well as to feel less anxiety and less stress by knowing the facts. Occasional check-ups and proper diet is said to help you live a long and healthy life even if you have radioactive substances detected.


By Drdo1 on Wednesday, September 7, 2011 - 12:04 am:

WOW...Uco, you are a wealth of information!

Thank you for your common sense email. There IS a bit of stress and tension out there concerning this issue. Some of that stems from or is related to: over-reactions on the publics part and some because of false information swirling around.

So, your complete email with sites (for us) to check is helpful in more ways than one. I hope Shikokumom and others check this site again.


By Shikokumom on Wednesday, September 7, 2011 - 6:23 pm:

Thanks so much for all the information.

The fam stuck to our guns and didn't "flyjin" when the quake happened. We we've just been working hard at weeding out the "doom and gloom" reports from fact. It's increasingly more difficult now because of the blanket on the media here about what's currently going on and we have to rely out outside sources. For example this tidbit from Al Jezeera:
http://english.aljazeera.net/video/asia-pacific/2011/08/20118314514934373.html

I also can't read Japanese so I appreciate the links you forwarded.

Uco, yes, I was referring to the girl in Kawaguchi.
We got wind of this news the day after we saw the Discovery Channel documentary on Chernobyl. Good heavens! Did anyone else see that and see the eerie similarities in procedure with Fukushima?

So yeah, the start of this thread was a knee-jerk reaction, I admit.

We've been discussing at work about all this. My boss also has children so we share the same concerns.
My boss got the AlJazeera news sorted out for us and got extremely detailed information from Saitama about all the testing and findings they've done at all the schools, pools, public parks, filtration plants as well as the sewage treatment plants. (Closer analysis lead me to believe that AJ is not that much different from CNN)

My son's J-kindy sent us a memo with a little map showing where they get their ingredients for school lunches.

We've been buying produce from Costco and ordering rice and vegetables from Kumamoto. Might be overboard, I know, but for now it's giving us peace of mind.

They were selling dirt cheap peaches from Fukushima at the grocery store and no one was buying them then the last time I went, the Fukushima peaches were gone and they are now peaches from Yamanashi . . . it coincides with news from stores in southern areas of Japan that fishermen were changing the place of origin of their catch so that they would sell. So is the salmon really from Chile or was it caught of the coast of Northern Japan?

Over-reaction from the public is to be expected when there is very little confidence in the government.

Anyway, I found this site with information about radioactive cesium:
http://dhss.delaware.gov/dph/files/cesiumfaq.pdf
It helps put things at ease especially since I'm uneducated in matters such as this.

But really, if the Simpsons have survived all this time, I suppose so can we. LOL

Peace everyone and so happy to have TWK back on.
We've missed you!!!


By Drdo1 on Wednesday, September 7, 2011 - 6:35 pm:

IS TWK back on?

I got this notice (your initial email) sent to my email that a comment was posted, so I stopped and checked it out. I was pleased to see you received numerous responses in short order. However, I haven't heard a thing from anyone on TWK for about 2 years now.

Anyone know...is this site back up?


By Uco on Thursday, September 8, 2011 - 12:09 am:

TWK was such a useful forum once, but it started to be attacked by spam and was virtually closed down. But if memory serves me right, it's not that the whole forum was deleted, so I hope we can get things back in order again. Hope to hear from the admin soon.

Back to the topic, it's really a pity that the majority of radiation-related information in Japanese, including the official ones (!), aren't translated. Although foreign information may be detailed, most of it speaks in behalf of those who aren't living here, so they don't care about how shocking or stressful they may sound. Plus I do have to say that many are either misleading if not false.

That said, (let's face it) nothing is certain, because *fortunately* this is the first or second time in history we are experiencing such a crisis and therefore there aren't enough data on what affects our health and how.

So it's really up to the indivisual to believe what they want to believe. For example, a (Japanese) friend in Fukushima who has 2 young daughters feed her children with food from further places, while feeding herself and other adult family members with food from Fukushima to encourage the local producers and market.

As for myself, I decided to buy food that looks fresh the most and have the farm's name on it, because I trust they are the more nutritious and responsible ones, and I believe that nutrition will help build a strong body that can fight future deseases. I also buy a lot of food from organic food shops like Kodawariya.

By the way, Daichi O Mamoru Kai, who delivers organic foods to your door, started testing most of their products by themselves. Each week they distribute a list of non-detected foods as well as a list of foods using ingredients from pre-3.11. Again, it's up to you to trust them, but I had been a member since the Chernobyl days, so I buy from them anyway.
http://www.daichi.or.jp/ad/lpo-t/index.html?xadid=lis_ga_0002324

As for information, a lot of Japanese people I know rely on NHK. I notice that some foreign residents think that NHK is government-friendly, but that is not true. It's just that they need to be fair since they collect viewing fee from all TV-holders, but in fact they were among the first to widely report about "hot spots" and the risks of strontium. And yet, they never fail to make it sound less stressful.

Lastly, I do hope that those living here in Japan at least are aware that cesium can be naturally excreted, and also that a lot of things in our daily life already has a certain level of radioactivity anyway. And here is some information in English you can find in the Ministry of Health' official website.
http://www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/incident/health_and_safety.html
http://www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/kan/topics/201107/FoodandRadiation_QA.pdf

All in all, I try not to worry too much, as worrying will just make me and my family stressed and eventually ill.

Bon appetit, guys.


By Sraboni on Saturday, September 10, 2011 - 11:32 am:

I am so happy to see that TWK is back again. I really missed this website specially during the initial few months after the crisis broke out. This is really a difficult time and I think the best way to deal with it is to share our concerns in a forum like TWK where other people are also going through the same kind of experiences.
Anyway, my primary concern right now is radiation , of course. But , apart from that , I have developed a sense of fear which I didn't have before this whole thing started. Fear for a lot of things like this continuous aftershock and then the fear for the next big one which according to the experts can strike anytime in Kanto and the chances have increased after the last one. I would like to know, keeping that in mind, what kind of preparations you all are taking specially those who have kids.

Regards,
Sraboni


By Uco on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - 2:04 pm:

First of all, sorry I accidentally posted my previous message twice.

Now, my "kid" is already 19, so I'm not sure if I'm qualified to respond to the above question on earthquakes, but apart from the usual preparations that each municipal encourages, such as emergency packs, furniture adjustment, housing inspection, meeting points and so on, the thing I did do recently was to renew our "where to contact in case of emergency" list.

Ever since my son started reading, I have had a tiny note pinned above our phone for him and others to refer to in case of any kind of emergency. The note lists phone numbers like 110, 119, 171, grandparents' and friends' phone numbers.

On March 11th, I was at home in Yokohama and right after the initial safety confirmation between family members I lost all means of contact including the internet and cell phone connection.

Unfortunately since then, very little have been reported about alternatives and not many seem to understand how scary it was to be nearly alone at a safe home with family and neighbors being unable to return.

So I did some research and renewed the list so that it mentions the following means of contact;

- Try 171
- Try your mobile phone's internet disaster service
- Try calling collect
- Try calling places very far away
(I guess you could add "Try Twitter" if you do Twitter.)

I also notice that a lot of organizations like companies and schools have renewed their disaster manuals and decided to make their employees and students stay overnight until safety is secured.

I have mixed feelings toward this. While I know this is the best solution all in all, it was indeed very encouraging to have family unite as soon as possible on March 11th. (On the day, I suddenly had to babysit toddlers for a parent who couldn't come home earlier).

My husband was smart, though. After a phone call making sure we were alright at home, he just kept working at his office prepared to stay for the night. Meanwhile he checked train operation via Twitter, and as soon as he learned that his train line was operating smoothly again, he left his office and returned home with no complications whatsoever. I suppose it's important to stay calm, watch out for information and make the right moves.

As for fear, I'm sure a lot of you who experienced the big tremor noticed your body feeling shakes for months even when the ground was not shaking. This stopped after I made my second holiday trip to far away places. A break is what we need.


By Sandy on Monday, October 10, 2011 - 12:12 pm:

On a very sad note: Health and patriotism
Fukushima children punished as traitors for not drinking milk at school.

Bullying from the top down
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aq4JG9ULVNE

By Sandy on Wednesday, October 12, 2011 - 8:50 pm:
Regarding my post above, I've found out that the accusations made by this politician in the Diet may have been uncorroborated 3rd party hearsay. Please forward only with a serious grain of salt!


By Uco on Wednesday, October 12, 2011 - 11:09 pm:

On the Aizu-wakamatsu Board of Education official website, there is a PDF statement announced by superintendent Mr. Noritaka Hoshi regarding this comment by Ms. Akira Matsu. Hoshi says that they were unable to find any clue along the lines of Ms. Matsu's comment. They also met the lawyer in issue, but could not find any female lawyer who made a similar comment, nor had the lawyer they met participate in the symposium.

Hoshi also says that, so far, there is no report saying that any Aizu-wakamatsu citizen has had cesium detected. He also goes on insisting that school lunch milk in the city is tested every week and made sure it is safe, and that in consideration of parents with great anxiety, the Board is taking extra care in making sure there is no bulling or such in schools in relation with milk etc.

He also mentions that the mayor of the city has made a complaint to Ms. Matsu, and eventually Ms. Matsu apologized. He concludes that the city will keep on taking extra care towards children's safety and mental care.

http://aizuschool.info/boardedunews/b_e_n_contents.php

I'm just laying out facts and it's up to the viewer to believe what they want to believe. By the way, because of geometric reasons, Aizu-wakamatsu City is way less affected by radiation than some places outside Fukushima Prefecture.


By Shikokumom on Wednesday, October 12, 2011 - 11:53 pm:

Thank you, Uco.
My brother posted this on FB and I immediately started looking around for a follow-up or any more background info about this but couldn't find anything that wasn't hearsay.
Please continue to post relevant information about any radiation news to help give us a balanced view.


By Sraboni on Thursday, October 13, 2011 - 12:05 am:

Thank you so much for posting that info Uco. I posted the link in FB and people are finding it very disturbing and showing a strong reaction.
On another note, watching the Japanese news, came to know about the strontium found in high quantity in Yokohama. Also, the latest cesium news in a sidewalk in Setagaya.
Feeling very depressed. Are my kids safe here in Tokyo ?

Sraboni


By Uco on Thursday, October 13, 2011 - 1:48 am:

About the strontium in Yokohama and the high cesium in Setagaya, needless to say there is talk about that on the Japanese language internet, too. Here is a mere example.
http://oshiete.goo.ne.jp/qa/7067527.html

I've posted a responce on answer No.2. The gist is this;

First of all we should keep in mind that the reason we're getting these kinds of news 6 months after 311 is because there are nice people measuring radiation 6 months after 311.

In other words, authorities are not testing every tiny bit of ground throughout Japan. There just aren't enough manpower, measurement tools nor budget.

So ordinary people are going around with Geiger counters (especially now that they are more available in more reasonable prices) measuring their neighborhoods or their children's schools or what not.

And if they detect a high level of radiation, they would naturally contact their municipal or what not, the municipal or what not then makes a thorough investigation, and finally when facts are more concrete, the media reports it. The media wouldn't want to report anything of rumour level just to scare their viewers.

And also, it takes months to detect strontium.

So just because something was "detected" now that doesn't mean that more radiation is "leaking" now. At the moment we don't know where the radiation in Setagaya or Yokohama came from, but at least they were most likely there for months. Other posters even suggest that they could have been there since pre-311. It's just that no one ever bothered to measure radiation in those spots.

But all in all, I'm not surprized. Since 311, we had always been encouraged to be careful when handling soil, ponds or outdoor dust and to educate your children to wash their hands and gargle when coming home.

At the same time, we can always go to our municipal's official websites to update ourselves on daily measurements of radiation in the air, or to go back to archives. And at least in Yokohama, the figures have kept relatively low and even ever since mid April. So one can assume that nothing new is happening, at least nothing big.

However, I'm planning to rent a Geiger counter to measure my garden before kids come trick-or-treating.

Anyway, being depressed won't help your health nor your safety. "It's not the load that breaks you down, it's the way you carry it." - by Lena Horne.


By Uco on Friday, October 14, 2011 - 11:42 pm:

Looks like the Setagaya one was due to bottles that are decades old. News sources say that these things were once commonly used for coating material and that it is not the first time that radium material was found from old storage places. I don't know what to think.

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ2011101414516

http://news.tbs.co.jp/newseye/tbs_newseye4851622.html


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